The Age of Covid Paintball – What did they know and when did they know it?

I am by no means an expert on ANYTHING.  I don’t pretend to be and I don’t play one on TV.  “Expert” denotes an “authoritative knowledge”, or an uncanny ability or “mastery” of something most don’t possess. Besides being an expert at driving my wife bat stuff crazy, I can’t think of a single thing I am “authoritatively knowledgeable” about.  Do I believe there are experts in this world? Absolutely.  Do I feel they are rare? More than likely, yes, I think they are rarer than most probably do.

I do try to keep things in perspective though, as well as try to apply logic and reasoning to anything I engage in.  For example, someone might send me a video of a political figure saying something that could be construed a particular way.  Whether I like or dislike the politician or agree with what was said or not, I always try to apply logic and reasoning to what is being stated.  Perhaps choosing politics is a terrible example because of the incredible amount of polarization in today’s world, especially here in the United States.  But I pride myself on understanding context.  I am by no means an expert but I am pretty well informed.  This is because I actively search to understand a point as oppose to just attacking it because it doesn’t line up with my own personal ideology.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

The heart of the matter lies in understanding, discernment, comprehension, and good judgement.  The majority of misunderstanding, inaccurate discernment/comprehension, and bad judgement can be avoided through effective communication.  Effective communication is way more than exchanging information.  It’s about understanding the context behind the information.  It is about being able to clearly convey a message.

Does it mean what I think it means? 

Take, for example, when you search “Infamous Paintball”.  Now, I’m pretty sure I know what they are trying to convey with this tag line.  We are Infamous Paintball and if you use our gear, you can beat anyone (the “good teams”).  But the tag line on its face doesn’t leave the most flattering message or impression for a product.   Again, context.  As a paintballer, I see it.  As a regular consumer, I’m thinking this is a joke, right?

*This is not a slight on Infamous.  Love what they do.  They just happen to have an example of where I am heading…

Of course, being able to clearly convey a message is important – that is – if there is one.  And no communication can say plenty as well.

As of this writing, the “Latest News” tab on the NXL website is from March 18th titled “2020 NXL Texas Open, April 30 – May3 : CANCELLED”.  Here is a link to the page:

Obviously, there is no update on the page.  Not even a mention of how they have since cancelled Virginia (and it would appear, Chicago).

I couldn’t help but notice on what many consider the crème de la crème for paintball communication,, doesn’t have any information regarding the rest of the season either.  John runs a tight ship over there and is almost always on top of this stuff. I just checked and didn’t find anything there.  I don’t have Twitter so maybe I missed something there…  Maybe… we’ll get to that.

Since then, communication has been scarce and limited.  The only communications that have taken place since mid-March were a live stream by, oddly enough, Infamous Paintball, featuring NXL President Tom Cole on April 17th, a post on the NXL Facebook page announcing the Virginia Event’s cancellation on May 5th, and another Q&A live stream featuring Tom Cole the next day on May 6th.

He doesn’t have an easy job.  And every keyboard warrior can do it better…

As someone who works in the corporate world, I certainly understand how difficult it can be to get everyone “rowing in the same direction”, especially when running a business.  It is hard enough without the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 and the restrictions implemented on travel and gatherings here and in Europe.  Let me make something perfectly clear; this is not a “Bash the NXL!” blog.  On the contrary actually.  I want to help by consolidating what info is out there for my readers to help the NXL get the word out (keep reading or scroll down).  Lord knows hindsight is 20/20 and it is easy to commentate outside looking in.  Although, I do want to say and the NXL would do well to remember that, no news is still news.

Leverage the mediums you have at your disposal (PBNation, NXL website, FB, Instagram, Twitter, GoSports, Email blasts, etc.) and let people know, even if you don’t have an answer, that you are actively pursuing one.  I am almost positive they have a Director of Communications, yes?  Let the players know what you know.  If you don’t know anything yet, then say so. But say SOMETHING. And say it regularly. Communicate and use the tools at your disposal to get the coverage you need for that message to get out.

All that being said, here is what we know as of today based off Tom’s last live stream (As more information comes in, I will try and update this in the comments or here on the page):

The Richmond, VA event scheduled for June 25th-28th and the Chicago, IL event scheduled for September 10th-13th are CANCELLED.  They will be replaced by 3 smaller REGIONAL events.  Here’s what we know about those:

The Pros will be split into 3 Divisions that will correlate with Regional events.  They are:

  • 6 pro teams in the West Coast division/regional event
  • 6 pro teams in the Texas division/regional event
  • 8 Pro teams in the Mid Atlantic division/regional event

Divisional play beneath Pro will be done similarly.  There will be 3 events just as the ones above at the same locations.  The difference is, if capable/possible, Division 1 (semi-pro) and below (D2, D3, D4, etc.) can attend more than one event.  However, only ONE event score (presumably your best showing) will go towards your series points.  The preference, according to Tom Cole during his last live Q&A, is for you to play one regional event and then World Cup (still scheduled for November 11th – 15th). All formats will be provided at the regional events (X-Ball, 5-man, etc.) just on a smaller scale.  Back to normal with World Cup.

For example – a team, based out of Louisiana, played the Las Vegas event.  They will more than likely play the Texas Regional event.  Your score from the Vegas event will determine your seeding for those teams attending the Texas event.  That team’s combined scores from Vegas and Texas should then determine their seeding headed into Cup… it will be interesting how they address when/if teams have the same score headed into Cup.

World Cup is currently still planned and will be hosted as originally scheduled in Kissimmee FL at the Gaylord Palms resort.  It will be one giant event as usual, not a divisional/regional deal.

World Cup will still be held across from the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee FL

Dates are forthcoming.  Estimate is that the events will START around the last week of August.  They will run every two weeks until September starting with Texas, followed by California, and then Mid Atlantic.  Obviously this will all be contingent on how states address their own “reopening”.  APPA entry fee is targeted to launch mid-July but again, dependent on State regulation.

No early layout release for these 3 regional events.  They will be a “blind” layout meaning you will see it when you get there. There is discussion of releasing the World Cup layout well in advance as opposed to the standard 2 week release prior to the event.

The locations for these events are still to be announced.  They are taking suggestions but the field must have the capability to fit at least 3 regulation X-ball fields (plus have significant parking I would imagine).  The NXL is going to help the fields selected with infrastructure to ensure the best event possible at these local/regional fields.  As it stands today, the following fields are in contention but not official:

  • California/West Coast Division event:
    • Capital Edge Paintball (Sacramento, CA)
  • Texas Division event
    • Paintball Fit (Waxahachie, TX)
    • XFactor Paintball (San Antonio, TX)
  • Mid Atlantic Division event
    • Topgun Paintball (Cream Ridge, NJ)
    • OXCC (Chesapeake City, MD)
    • LVL Up Paintball (Grove City, OH)

There may/may not be a relegation this year due to the possibility of a team not being “allowed” to travel and they are still wanting to bring a semi pro team up.  They are working through all of that.

And that’s what we know.  If you know more, please feel free to share and I will do what I can to get the information out as long as that information can be corroborated.  A lot of this is still fluid so, keep your eyes and ears open for more updates.

Until then

Be Water my Friends.

Testing…testing…is this thing on?

Ah, World Cup.  This event is the end all be all, the big show, the culmination, the pinnacle, no, dare I say… the epitome of the competitive NXL season!  The feelings of excitement for first timers, the energy one feels when they actually step foot on the grounds of the event.  None of this can be ignored.  I’ll never forget the debut of “Push” in 1999.  That set the stage for me.  There is no other feeling like standing there with your teammates, holding the cup, knowing  your team are the best in the World that day.  Trust me, I’ve talked to people who have experienced it… lol… sigh…

2nd place…. again.

As can be expected this time of year, there will be several articles, blogs, and videos explaining to you the best way to approach a field.  There will be pros telling you how they see the field playing, how they will approach it, where to lane, why, etc.  And it is precisely why this blog will not be about any of that.

After the big show

Instead, I want to discuss something many people overlook.  Something you should keep in mind during your World Cup preparation.

We have examined communication on and off the paintball field on several occasions and most people (including myself) discuss effective communication as a whole.  But sometimes, it needs to be broken down regarding who is communicating to who and why.  Let’s confer about some of the things effective players in specific positions should do when communicating to their fellow players.

Again, for convenience, let’s define what effective communication is.  Effective communication is the process of sharing information between two or more people which should ultimately lead to a specific outcome. With effective communication, information is shared and received efficiently without any misunderstanding or distortion.  In other words, what was meant to be understood by the sender is understood by the receiver.  Again, effective communication includes not just the sender but the receiver… so effective listening is an important part of the equation.  In paintball, and for the sake of this blog’s intent, we will deal with verbal communication and attentive listening only.

Effective and efficient communication is necessary to succeed on the paintball field.   When we say efficient, we want to share the greatest amount of data in the quickest manner possible.  This is where codes come in.  But that isn’t the subject of this article.  Codes are certainly important.  Bunker names, codes for protecting players, codes meaning a player is about to go do something , kill count, down count;  are all integral to success on the field.  But I am talking about having a conversation.  If a 3 (usually a back player of some sort) can have a comfortable conversation with his 2 (mid) or his 1 (front), then things will usually go well.


If you are able to speak with your teammates during a game where the communication is consistent and unhindered, especially if projection is used, then, in a perfect world, the data is flowing and everyone knows what is going on with their opponent as well as their teammates.  There is no such thing as too much communication.

Being an effective communicator requires a skillset that isn’t easily obtained.  Recognizing the fast changes in a paintball game, quickly communicating them, while relaying what needs to happen based off the new data, well… having a firm foundation in this ability would put you and your team light years ahead of most competitive teams.

As a 2/3 player, I like to ask questions.  No, not the “whatcha got?” variety question because I was too busy not paying attention on the break … effective questioning.

Let’s create a scenario.  You and George (your fictional teammate) are the 1 and 2 on the D side of the field.  You guys have just survived the break and eliminated an opponent from dorito 1.   You know another player is in a D side Aztec.  You hear snake 1 and snake corner from your teammates on the other side of the field.  No one knows where the 5th body is.  You check in and you see you lost a player on your snake side.  How do you think that conversation would go?


After you communicate the kill to your front player and your snake side teammates, the conversation could start like this: “Yo George (use first names, gets their attention quicker)!  Kill one from D1, we lost Patrick.  There’s a D side Aztec, snake 1 and snake corner (I’m sure you would have bunker codes).  Don’t know where the other body is.  Caution the wall.  What do you need?”

This is how a 2 or 3 may communicate with a 1.  They give the data they have and make sure their teammate hears it.  Then they ask for feedback.  Effective communication is only effective if it flows freely and in a continuous loop between teammates.   And this is where things can go wrong.  A miscommunication or inaccurate data will create consequences (not all bad but it certainly isn’t always good).

My point is the 2 or 3 should communicate what he knows and then ask what he can do to improve the current situation.  Sometimes, it is his job to joystick the 1.  “George! Go now!  I have Aztec contained”.  But sometimes that 1 will know things you don’t. “Snake one is shooting cross”.  Now how do you think the conversation may go?

“Shoot the Aztec and I will see what I can do with snake.  You got him?”

“I’m on him.”

After putting your stream of paint on snake player, it pushes him in creating an opening.

“George, I’ve got snake in.  Check off the wall and go!”


Okay, real basic example of how this might play out.  But let’s get back to the 1 now.

The 1 usually has a different approach/goal.  He wants to get up the field without too much threat to his own hide.  Failure to effectively communicate his needs will usually result in his demise or that of someone else on his team.  1’s need to be effective communicators  too.   Too many players believe that it is their job to be talked to… not with.  When they are fed data from a 2 or 3, they need to do two things if possible.  First, they need to acknowledge the data they received and then, if possible, complement that data with data of their own.

2/3 player – “Down one, kill one George! D side Aztec, snake corner, snake one, caution the wall.”

George, the 1 – “Down one, kill one, Aztec, snake corner, snake one, caution wall.  You on the Aztec?”

2/3 player –“Yeah”

George, the 1, now shooting at the Aztec  too – “I have the Aztec, put paint on the snake. Have Gary (who doesn’t know a Gary?) shoot the bounce on the wall”

2/3 player – “I’m on the snake!  Gary!   Shoot the bounce!”

1’s can joystick the field too.


Of course, all of this hinges on effective communication across the field too.  Most teams are good at communicating with their side of the field.   Two guys on the D side usually don’t have a problem talking to each other.  Same with the snake side players.  You see this a lot in divisional play.  But teams that have these conversations across the field?  They are usually dominating.

The point is, you can usually avoid damage to the game plan with effective conversation and/or you can repair damage to the game plan with effective conversation.   You will also increase your success rate.

Remember, effective team work begins and ends with good communication.  Go make it happen.

And best of luck to everyone competing at World Cup this year.
Be water, my friends!

Ground Control to Major Tom . . .

A small note- This topic and this particular blog post almost killed me. My brain came close to disintegrating from all the important tangents this post could have run off on. I tried to keep it streamlined and focused on but a few of the more important factors regarding said topic. I still feel as if I may have had a small aneurysm or hemorrhage of the brain. I apologize ahead of time. It has been rewritten 6 times . . . no joke. This is a topic I will try to readdress later if I am alive. If I die don’t let me vote Democrat after I am dead.

Communication is the means by which we transfer and decipher information. Whether it is thoughts, emotions or ideas, we use our speech, gestures, and facial expressions, to transmit whatever it is we wish to get across to those we are communicating with. There are three essential components to communication: the sender, the medium by which we are delivering the data (method of delivery), and the receiver. Now, I could get into theory and further explain the science around all of this but let’s proceed using this base understanding.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” – Epictetus

Ancient Greek philosophers understood the importance of communication. They were quite articulate about it actually. (Get it?). With the creation of the Olympics, all those chiseled bodies (see what I did there?) and their understanding of communication based off the philosophical minds they had at their disposal, would have made excellent paintball players.

Communicating the game plan

Probably the most overlooked, misunderstood, and vitally important aspect of paintball is communication. I don’t care if you are a beginner or a pro, you can never have enough good information. The importance of receiving and transmitting this information well is a crucial element teams should master if they intend to be successful.

Think about it for one moment in the most basic of contexts: You communicate to your teammates the game plan prior to a point. You communicate what you want to accomplish. If you are down bodies, good communication will help you pull it back. If you are up bodies, good communication will help you ensure your success.

Too many players have a simplistic understanding of what communication is or should be in paintball. They feel that it is simply shouting out bunker codes or kill counts. Sure, it is important to identify threats. But is that the extent of it? Is that where it ends? Absolutely not. Now that we have information, how do we continue its transmission and how do we use it effectively?

Communicating expectations

Something many players look past is listening, another incredibly important factor of communication. This is my own personal issue. I have a tendency to communicate well in the first part of a point. While I am communicating, I am piecing things together in my head on how I am going to react to the data I have. I see the game plan unfold, make my reads, and then act. Regrettably, I may have missed a key point of data from one of my players because I was talking/yelling and not listening too. Or even worse, I may not communicate what I knew or my intent. In other words, I have a tendency to forget to share “my plan” and just act essentially diminishing my success rate by not getting the “help” I need. This is where some of you would argue, “Hey, if you see the move you have to take it!” That is true. And you are still wrong.

Once you have the necessary information (location of opponents, recognizing your teams position in relation to those of your opponents, up/down count), now we have to take this information and form a response to it. Whether it is sharing what we know (if we have additional information) or simply acknowledging we heard what our teammate(s) shared, they have to know the message was received as well as the additional information we can provide. Once this is established, now we have to build a game plan. Yes, you had a plan on the box of who was laning where, who was going where (and why) and you want to execute that plan. One or two specific goals should have been determined, too. It is important to understand the reasoning behind the play (your goals).

So, the point begins and we go to accomplish and execute our plan/goals. But now, based off the latest data, we have to piece together how to execute said game plan based off our new environment (what happened after the break). Has the game plan now changed and if so how, why and where? What elements have changed? Did we lose someone off the break? Perhaps two? Did we drop one or two of them on the break? Did we make it wide and they didn’t? Does this allow us to take more ground quickly? What elements and variables have happened and how do we adjust? How do we know how to adjust? Communication, that’s how! After enough time working with your teammates, instinct will also play a role, but that is another topic/blog. Communication paints the picture for us and now we have to finish the story by painting our own ending. Communication is the paintbrush.  BTW, that is what we call “analogy”, a good communication tool . . . anyway. . .

What next?

It should be noted that the information derived from communication is only as good as the context in which it is received. It is important in paintball to get the most amount of information across in the most efficient way. Power words or short sentences that are code for specific and distinct meaning are key. Perhaps your team has a code meaning the snake side is clear from a particular prop over? Same for the D side. Or that there is a particular situation you anticipated to encounter and trained to beat? If you don’t have these things, again, you are behind the curve.

Additionally, the knowledge you already possess must be built upon with the knowledge you receive. If you are told it is “G4! Home only!” and truck down the field to dunk the guy and end up getting smoked by a guy in the corner everyone missed, well, that’s bad. However, having your data, building upon it as accurate (trust but verify) gives even greater detail which allows you to make a better informed decision. But most importantly, have you and your players walked the field well enough that they have a 3 dimensional map of it engraved in their brain? This is the next level. If I tell my front snake player “G out of the can! Aztec is D side, corner is on the wire!”, can he/she now see the field in his/her mind and make an informed decision to set up and shoot another threat he is aware of? AND BECAUSE he has walked the field so well and knows the shot from his position in the snake, it is second nature to pop up and make an accurate shot without having to gather his bearings. Make sense?

Translation: If you tell your snake player an opponent is looking away and he now has a shot on another bunker but he doesn’t know the shot instantly, he could very well miss the opportunity. He now has to prairie dog causing him to lose a valuable opportunity.


Being able to talk to your team off the field is valuable

Interestingly enough, communication doesn’t just have to happen on the field. It is important that good communication among a team happens off the field too. I had this conversation recently with a member of Prime. We were talking about the difference between his perception of his game and other more experienced members in the program. We were discussing how one takes steps to understand what to do in complex situations and how one learns “instinct”. The more we talked the more I realized his problem was that he didn’t understand exactly what we had been teaching. If A then B. The issue he was struggling with was comprehension. That’s an issue since the “receiver” wasn’t understanding the message and it was obvious the “sender” wasn’t delivering the message well enough. But once I recognized the issue, I began to break it down for him and really focused in on his concern. I did my best to explain as well as I could, what we were driving at. It clicked. He had a breakthrough and understood the point. It was really cool to witness and be a part of (I dig things like that… when the light bulb goes off and the player is better for it. Man, I love that stuff!)

Are there ways to improve communication? Yes. Are there drills for this? There sure are. What is an example?

Supper. . .

Yep, supper. For those of you not in the know, supper is the correct term for dinner here in the south. Now that we have the nomenclature squared away . . .


I love to eat, but I love eating with my friends and teammates more. There is something about breaking bread with guys you have chewed dirt with all day. No, this isn’t a drill. There are plenty out there and several the Prime program uses. It would be easy to supply you with a few that assist you with communicating better on the field. But I have news for you. If you don’t get to know the guy in front of you, beside you or behind you on that field, and you don’t trust them, then there is no amount of drills that will help your comms on the field. If you can’t talk to your teammates off the field, you won’t do it effectively on the field either. No manner of drill will make you a better teammate much less a better team.

Emphasize communication at your next (and all) practices going forward. Try to think of ways to improve it. Trust me when I tell you that a team that can communicate well and adjust will take the game more times than not.

Be water my friends,

Mike Bianca

Team Pr1me


Previously Posted

Where is the blasted sacrificial knife?

I want to expand upon something that I mentioned last August regarding the blog “Culture in Paintball”. Several things have happened in this off season in particular that have made me want to touch back on this subject. And no, it has nothing to do with the PSP’s new rules, etc. Everybody and their mother has weighed in on that… no need for me to enter that arena as I seriously doubt, based on the lines drawn, there is any true winner in that debate.

Here is what I had mentioned about “rituals” in that previous blog:

“Rituals/Traditions. This is your paintball team’s identity or soul. These are what the team has in common. It’s the glue that binds teammates together. Rituals and traditions can be the setting up and taking down of the field EVERY weekend, the meeting up at a favorite local restaurant after practice, the workouts, the drills, rites of passage for new members…(those can be interesting). You get the picture.”

Enter a caption

Mixing margaritas with the Ironmen’s Mike Paxson in 2008. This became a “ritual” albeit a dangerous one…

Let’s face it. We live in a world of modernism (is that a word?) where we are constantly bombarded with consumerism, the drive (or lack thereof) to challenge ourselves, the increasing divide among us due to different norms or the void of having shared values.   The question then becomes, with all these differences, how do we turn 8-10 guys into a team that won’t eventually self-implode? How do we confront these vacancies among us and bring us back together? How can we build a meaningful bond with our teammate that translates on and off the field? How do we create that elusive true sense of the term, “Team”?

Why, rituals, of course.

Every culture throughout existence has engaged in rituals. It would then hold that they are, in face, a fundamental part of the human condition. Rituals can change things, solve problems and accomplish things. Through history we have used rituals to identify our “tribes”, to orient ourselves and differentiate between others. A paintball team without rituals will, overtime, collapse upon itself because there is no means by which to identify it, nothing to be proud of, to achieve. The team will be bored and will eventually cease to exist.  If it somehow manages to survive, you have a team of guideless zombies who have no life or pride anyway. You know… democrats.

Okay, so what exactly is “ritual”?

Ritual can be defined as “Prescribed, established or ceremonial acts or features of a collective.” Quite simply, a ritual is something a group of likeminded people do regularly for a specific purpose or reason. Here is a good example: Waving to someone or shaking someone’s hand. There is no real reason why waving your hand at someone or gripping another’s hand and shaking it equates to a greeting or establishment of acquaintance. It is culturally relative (there’s that word “culture” again… hang in there). However, washing your hands in order to clean them is not a ritual as there is a direct correlation between your action and a desired result. To use my Catholic faith as an example, when the priest splashes water on his hands at Mass during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, this is a ritual since the water is not necessarily intended to remove bacteria.


Team Owner/Captain Mikey McGowan participating in the ritual of the “high five” with Coach Shane Pestana of the Los Angeles Ironmen. Co- Captain yours truly participating in the ritual of paintball gun safety in the background.

Okay… enough with establishing what it is and my silly attempt at explaining Catholic Mass. To the point:

A ritual in paintball should be developed as something that carries value to the team. It should instill in the team a behavior. And most successful teams establish these aspects (culture) from the get go. The ritual of drilling a skill set. The ritual of donning the same jersey. The ritual of always being polite to the referees and playing honestly (or dishonestly in some cases). All in all, paintball rituals should involve discipline. By enforcing the ritual, it should create a desired set of effects. Precise repetition leads to better physical control or what we constantly harp about at Prime as “muscle memory”.

But there have to be rules. Rules regulate the ritual. If you “cheat” the ritual i.e. break the rules of the drill, the desired effect cannot be accomplished. Let’s remember the purpose of a ritual, “to have a specific purpose”. The point of ritualistic paintball is to lead to an increase in performance. Put another way, it is essentially thought plus action. A ritual consists of doing something in your mind while simultaneously connecting it to doing something with your body.

A ritual does not have to be some grand thing. It can be something as small as sharing an energy drink each morning before practice. But it should involve these key takeways:

  1. It should bring the team together
  1. It should have a purpose/goal
  1. It should be shared among all members of the team
  1. It should help establish a team’s identity.
This ritual sucked…

Hopefully this post has helped you understand something… I honestly don’t know what I was trying to say when I started it. There was a point. I guess, if you are a lousy human being and you lead a paintball team, you will probably create more lousy human beings with your ritualistic behavior. I prefer to create good people who are good at paintball. Your team can define you as an individual. Hopefully, your rituals are  positive in nature. If not, should my team and yours meet on the field, I promise our ritualistic approach will outdo yours… unless your ritual involves bribing refs or the ritual of cheating, etc. Even then, I believe the ritual of winning will come into play. And we play to win. Ritualistically speaking…



Previously Posted

Open letter to Pr1me

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” – Samuel Johnson

This is a quote used by an Executive I work with as he addressed his direct reports earlier this morning. It stuck with me, not because Samuel Johnson essentially wrote one of the most widely used English dictionaries in existence but because of two questions I was asked at practice earlier that weekend.  First, I was asked how I felt about being a coach. Then I was asked by one of my players, “What do you see that we aren’t seeing?” in reference to how his line was playing. I tried to answer both questions as best I could while trying to stay focused on a number of other tasks. Admittedly, I was not fully engaged and I believe I answered them from a literal sense and to the best of my ability at the moment. But hindsight is always 20/20 and if you give me enough time, I will study (translation: over analyze) something until I have an answer that satisfies me. So I started looking at this from a communication perspective. Here is what I have come up with:

As a leader, you can ensure that your message becomes a part of the culture of the team through repetition. (We have built a culture here. I can explain that further if you wish – let me know if you need clarification). The key factor is to make sure you don’t become frustrated when you have to say something more than once. This can be applied to leader, coach, captain, player…you get the picture. Repetition can change people by reinforcing the message (or at least, it should it depends on certain variables which I will address later in this letter). Solid leadership communication is about repetition, whether we like it or not. A good example of this would be close order drill performed in the United States Marine Corps. Now, repetition might sound boring to a lot of people but it has been my experience that it is one of the most effective communication tools in a corporate environment. So why can’t it work with our program? Well, I think it does. I believe our program is a good example of that actually.

If we really want our team to experience an organizational alignment, collaboration so to speak, with high performance results than repetition is indispensable. If we say it again, and again, and again or practice it again and again and again, a person who is diligent will see the results. They will begin to internalize it as they hear the same message over and over and over again. They will see the results of their lanes, their snap shooting, their communication improving as they drill, drill and drill. They will hear that “voice”. The concept is quite simple really.

Another factor and probably the most important aspect of this communication is to pick the right message. You want to make sure that the message isn’t something that you are afraid to repeat everywhere/anywhere all the time. Integrity is paramount. And we should say it every time with the utmost conviction and sincerity.

This, by no means, lets the listener off the hook. Communication is a two way street. There is the messenger, there is the medium used to communicate said message and then there is the receiver/target of the message. The receiver must play a role as well, they must be vested. They must understand the message then recognize that message for what it is and how it pertains to them. Then they must acknowledge it and provide quality feedback.

I want to be a good leader (who doesn’t?). And I want to be a good player. That means I need to repeat the key takeaways I want you as a team to have. It means I must listen and understand the feedback. But you also came to Prime to be a better player, a better person, a winner… right? You have invested time and energy to meet these goals, correct? We need to make sure we are all getting what we want out of this symbiotic relationship because that is what this is. We use the term family to define us. We are the Prime Family… Families fight and disagree but in the end, blood is thicker than water. So let’s agree that we all want the same thing: to be successful in our endeavor of becoming better paintball players and winning.

I didn’t realize this would be a book so let me try and sum this up. Simply, you will get out of Prime what you put into Prime. I, Mikey and the McGowan family have put a lot into this program as have many of you. Through clear communication and repetition between and among the team members, we can create an environment of consistency. That consistent environment will breed winning. And winning makes us all happy.

So let’s make ourselves happy. Let’s practice hard. Let’s create a consistent winning environment. And let’s listen to what’s being said, taught, and shown, etc. You want to be better? Well, you get what you put in.

Be water my friends…


Previously Posted